While our NHS staff were rightly hailed as heroes during the height of the coronavirus pandemic – leading to a weekly clap of gratitude on our doorsteps – NHS chiefs say they have seen rising incidents of aggression towards doctors and GP practice staff.
Now they are appealing to be kind, ‘after a small minority of patients acted aggressively towards staff either over the phone or when visiting their surgery in person in recent weeks’.
Dr Stephen Shortt, NHS Nottinghamshire clinical commissioning group joint clinical leader, said: “Doctors, nurses and all staff in our GP practices are doing everything they can to support patients and families at a time where the NHS is facing extreme pressure.
“It is important staff across our healthcare settings are treated fairly and respected at work.
“Patients and the public have been incredibly understanding of the difficulties imposed by the pandemic over what is now a very long time, and have been courteous and kind.
“Some staff though have been abused during their working day.
“This is not acceptable and we must all stand together against violence, aggression and bullying.
“We recognise the ongoing frustrations caused by the pressures and demand for NHS services, but ask you to remain supportive of those trying to support you.”
Latest data shows in August there were 454,315 GP appointments with 58 per cent of these being face-to-face and 52 per cent of patients being seen the same day or next.
Joe Lunn, CCG associate director of primary care, said: “This is a serious matter and abuse towards NHS staff who have been at the forefront of the pandemic for more than 18 months is unacceptable.
“We are working closely with our GP practices and police colleagues to ensure practices have the right help and support in place.
“We’re seeing increasing numbers of people right across the NHS system and general practice staff are doing their best to ensure everyone can get the care they require.
“It’s important patients do seek medical advice if there is something they are worried about and although practices are working slightly differently in these challenging times, they are still open and here to treat you.”